December 11, 2003 Subject:
Late Harman-Ising Production...
Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising, founders of the original Warner Brothers and MGM animation units (in 1930 and 1934 respectively) and creators of Bosko, were out of the theatrical animation game by 1940. In 1941, Hugh Harman founded his own studio to produce commercial, health, safety, and training films, a couple of which are archived here ("Johnny Learns His Manners" and "The March of Progress"). A minor Harman Productions classic, "Winky the Watchman", unfortunately isn't.
The Harman-Ising partnership had clearly resumed by 1951. "Good Wrinkles" even features the H-I logo that opened their cartoons for MGM back in the 30s. H-I's animation techniques are typically slick here.. The animation, layout, and handling of color is frankly beautiful in spots. But Harman and Ising are let down by their just-as-typical inability to give their characters real personality. Lots of wasted opportunites for gags here, and the gags H-I did find an excuse to trot out were old hat by 1940, let alone 1951 (the "coated tongue" bit even makes an appearance!).
"Good Wrinkles" is an interesting indication of what a Harman-Ising theatrical cartoon would have looked like by 1951 if they had never been canned by MGM. Like an overboiled prune; slick but flavorless.
July 8, 2003 Subject:
Cute animated prunes will get you nowhere
Very similar to 'A Fortune in 2 old trunks', using even the tag line 'All prunes are plums, however not all plums are prunes' (this is not too easy too forget), this is however, obviously geared to the younger gulliable folk who think Prunes are just swell. I did like the little Mr Wrinkles story about him becoming famous and all that, but I'm still not too sure about that pie.
Ken Smith sez: This well-made color cartoon follows the movie career of "Sunny Sweet," a fat, jovial, California prune. The pudgy little fruit is a "local boy made good" who goes to Hollywood and is quickly hired for film roles over dime-a-dozen plums and prunes from other states. We see him playing roles as a baseball player ("Slugger Sunny"), a doctor, an acrobat, and a French duke ("In his regal costume, he fittingly represents true prune royalty"). As a boxer, Sunny knocks out "Fatigue," using "his great supply of prune energy." As the French duke, Sunny duels with an evil Pacific Northwest prune (guess who wins). Beautiful artwork and animation throughout -- even the harvesting and processing sequences look great. "Sunny played many important parts in the movies, just as prunes in real life play an important part in keeping us healthy." All right, all right, we get the point.